GOOD NEWS FROM THE GOOD SAMARITAN CHILDREN’S HOME, FEBRUARY, 2017
It’s a new calendar year, and a new school year at the Good Samaritan Children’s Home in Nairobi, Kenya. We hope you enjoy these new pictures of the shy freshmen students waiting for their new adventure at residential high schools. It is a difficult and exciting transition to school far out in the countryside, away from the love of Mother Mercy and a home full of 600 boys and girls of various ages who have been family for many years. Because of their high tests scores, we know that they are well prepared and will succeed, thanks to your support through their elementary and middle school years. Mother Mercy tells it best. Early in January FAF received this message from Mercy Theu, founder of the Good Samaritan Children’s Home: Richard, after only being in school for the last 2 years, has managed to score reasonably well to go to high school. He will be able to have a bright future with his certificate in his hands. His days on the streets are behind him. The whole orphanage has something to celebrate at the end of 2016. Our hearts are filled with profound gratitude. We appreciate all who have chipped in to our education program and enabled us to transform Richard’s life and the lives of other young people who formerly lived on the streets of Nairobi. In other news, we received a record amount of money from donors to the 2016 Anthony Salazar Fund: $1850! Thanks to everyone who remembered this great guy by giving money to Fabulous African Fabrics’ fund which meets emergencies at the Good Samaritan Home during the year. GlobalGiving has announced the merger of the United States organization and GlobalGiving UK. This will make GG more of a worldwide organization and allow donors to give money without worry about exchange rates and rules. Have you ever thought about becoming a recurring donor? This is so easy to do. Make your donation automatically every month, and there is no need to worry about when and how much. If you sign up on a bonus day, your funds will be available for the bonus!
Fabulous African Fabrics--a 501C3 Organization February 2016 - Issue #63THE CLOTH AND THE MUDNewsletter of the FABULOUS AFRICAN FABRICSorganization, supporting orphans and vulnerablechildren at the Good Samaritan Children’s Home inNairobi, KenyaFAF MAILING ADDRESS You may contact us here with your correspondence, Newsletter suggestions, contributions (other than direct Global Giving contributions), and other matters. 40 Monroe Center NW #312Grand Rapids, MI 49503 Fabulous African Fabrics--a 501C3 Organization February 2016 - Issue #63
OBAMA IN KENYA--A RETURN TO THEHOMELAND Barack Obama visited Kenya this past July, although not much of his visit to nations on the African continent received much publicity in our national press. Was the importance of the President's visit somewhat eclipsed by all the shouting and haranguing belched forth by the dozen opposition party candidates? Who knows? Barack spent two entire days in his father's homeland, where the people of Kenya consider him one of their own. Thousands of students and others lined the streets when his helicopter touched down at Kenyatta University. His halfsister, Auma Obama, directs a foundation in Nairobi. Thirty years ago she hosted him on his first visit to Kenya (he recounted some stories from that earlier visit in his memoir), and he recalled strolling down the streets of Nairobi as a young man. There was little strolling this time, however, with the country under serious threat by criminal gangs and by the Qaeda affiliate, the Shabab. In fact, this time Joseph P. Clancy, the director of the Secret Service, personally accompanied the President; and the Kenyan authorities shut down vital roads before and during Mr. Obama’s visit, dampening the size of the crowds. President Uhuru Kenyatta with BarackObama.
He recalled that first trip as a young man and how he arrived at the airport, where an airline official helping him fill out a form recognized his last name and asked if he was related to his father. “That was the first time that my name meant something,” he said. Mr. Obama noted that during that visit, Auma’s car broke down repeatedly. “We’d be on the highway, we’d have to call the juakali — he’d bring us tools,” he said, referring to a serviceman. “We’d be sitting there, waiting. And I slept on a cot in her apartment. Instead of eating at fancy banquets with the president, we were drinking tea and eating ugali and sukumawiki,” or maize flour and greens. “Kenya is at a crossroads,” he told the crowds in one of his public speeches last summer, “a moment filled with peril but also enormous promise.” To continue that progress, he said, Kenya needs to confront “the dark corners” of its past and wage a sustained campaign against corruption, expand its democracy, overcome ethnic division, protect human rights and work to end discrimination against women and girls. He also acknowledged the United States’ own struggles, citing the recent shootings of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C., and the dispute over flying the Confederate battle flag. “What makes America exceptional is not the fact that we’re perfect,” he said. “It’s the fact that we struggle to improve. We’re self-critical.” Obama mobbed by crowds during his visit.
To read the entire feature article describing Obama’s visit, visit the New York Times website: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/27/world/africa/obama-calls-on-kenyato- confront-its-problems.html. * * * * *
POPE FRANCIS VISITS KENYA At a rain-soaked Mass in Nairobi with thousands huddled before him, Pope Francis called for Kenyans to remember the poor, tap into the idealism of youth, and protect “the innocent unborn.” This was Francis’ first official visit to Africa, a continent where the number of Roman Catholics is steadily growing. And African bishops and cardinals are playing an increasingly influential role in the direction of the church. Francis also met with Kenyan Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs, telling them that dialog between religions was not a “luxury or “optional.” “It is essential,” he said, “something which our world, wounded by conflict and division, increasingly needs.” Francis mentioned the recent spate of terrorist attacks in Kenya, in which hundreds of civilians have been slaughtered by the Shabab, a militant group from Somalia. “All too often,” he commented, “young people are being radicalized in the name of religion to sow discord and fear, and to tear at the very fabric of our societies. How important it is that we be seen as prophets of peace.”
Pope Francis has cast himself as a champion of the poor around the world. In Nairobi, he walked the muddy footpaths of one of the city’s harshest slums, Kangemi. Following his visit to Kenya, he travelled to Uganda and to the Central African Republic, another extremely poor nation currently in the midst of a religious war. Moving through Nairobi in his “popemobile,” Francis greeted a crowd of 400,000 people that had assembled at the university. At his Mass there, priests banged barehanded on giant bongo drums, and even Kenya’s President, Uluru Kenyatta (an observant Catholic) swished his hips and danced in place as he waited for the pope’s homily. Francis finished his homily with a Swahili touch. “Mungu ibariki Kenya!” he cried, or “God bless Kenya!” (For a full account of the pope’svisit, visit the “New York Times”website at:http://nyti.ms/1NvhpvZ)
JOIN YOUR BOARD
Last year we lost several of our FAF Board Members due to retirement, and we need your help! Can you “step up to the plate” and help us out by volunteering some of your time to administer FAF affairs? FAF Board members meet only a few times each year, but on those occasions we conduct important business that keeps FAF running efficiently year-round, scoring an important impact at the Good Samaritan Home. As Kris Wetah from the Home reminds us: “Through your support,GSCH has managed to make a positive impact in the lives of thousands oforphans and vulnerable children in the Mathare Slums andbeyond. Together we have achieved.” What do our FAF board Members do? • Receive quarterly reports from our Accountant C.P.A., Jan Sheffield, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. • Make rapid decisions on emergency funding for immediate needs brought to the attention of our Board by Good Samaritan Home officials. • Decide on the allocation of funds for ongoing expenses & special projects of the Good Samaritan Home when sending funds to Kenya. • Plan ongoing fundraisers in the local area, and review the fundraising plans of other FAF fundraisers around the world. • Assist the Good Samaritan Home with proper accounting procedures, Kenya government requirements for maintaining their official registration, and other matters. • Gather & supervise Newsletter content and E-mail announcements to members & friends, assuring that all FAF members are kept up-to-date with information about our many events and activities throughout the year.
Help our organization to grown & prosper by inviting friends and family to become members and help our fundraising efforts. • Planning long-term strategies for our organization.
Who are our present Board members? Christine Coggins, President; Jill Hamilton, Past-President; Patricia Callan, Vice-President; BetsyKnox, Secretary; Laura Salazar, Fundraiser; Kiri Salazar, Membership Chair; Roger Ellis, Newsletter editor; Sheba Onchiri, Kenyan Advisor. If you can find the time to help us out, please contact our President, Christine Coggins, at: email@example.com. * * * * *
A GOOD READ ON KENYA Are you looking for good reading about Africa, and Kenya in particular? One very fine recent book on the market is What's So Blessed about Being Poor?Seeking the Gospel in the slums of Kenya. It's an eye-opening account of daily life in the slums of Nairobi and Mombasa. The book is co-written by two lay women who have chosen to live among the poor in East Africa: one a Maryknoll lay missioner, and the other a New York attorney who left her law practice to become a lay missioner. It offers an excellent account of everyday life in modern Kenya, and bout the vicious cycle of poverty that holds people down and without hope for most of their lives. The book was on the United Methodist Women's Reading Program in 2015. The narrative is an account of these women's ten-year experience working with AIDs orphans, and is replete with photographs. A great deal of the book is also dedicated to explaining the role played in Kenya by religious and nonprofit institutions. Find the book at your local library, or order a copy from Amazon. The authors are Susan L. Slavin and Coralis Salvador. And if you need the ISBN number, it's: 978-1626980556.
FUNDING NOTES •
SAVE THE DATE!! WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16—THE DATE OFOUR NEXT GLOBAL GIVING “BONUS DAY” •
News from Paul & Hilary Stratford in the United Kingdom, from November 2015: Great news! Our sale yesterday raised about £260, so with'gift aid' this should increase to £325 (or just under $500).The idea of raffling a wheelbarrow full of wine (18 bottlesdonated by local businesses and sponsors) went down verywell. So a good result I think . . . There was some talk yesterdayabout adopting FAF as our village charity •
We received the following news from Kris Wetah, administrator at the Good Samaritan Home, early in January. It’s a vivid testimony of how funding from FAF and other agencies have produced solid results with the children’s education: Hello, we had an awesome performance from the classto join high school. Out of 500 marks, they performedas follows: 421, 416, 401, 390, 370, 370 354, 349,325m 310, and one at 275. All qualified to join high school.The 1st 4 will approximately need $1000 each for tuitionalone for the year. They will be admitted in national school,the top flight government schools. • Of those children whom Kris reports scored so well last year, 3 other highscoring teens still need $2,000 to get them into good high schools. •
Meanwhile, the home is also struggling to support its other students and needs $13,000 for tuition. Kris raised $7,000 from German and Spanish NGOs; FAF contributed another $3,650; and Mercy’s granddaughter, Sheila, raised $2,000 from her family and friends towards the $13,000 goal. Many thanks to those who paid their dues and donated to the Tony Salazar Fund. This emergency fund raised $2,200 which included a $1000 donation from an anonymous donor. •
Our Board President, Christine Coggins, received this urgent appeal last week from Kris Wetah, administrator at the home. Greetings. Please I am a bit very embarrassed ofwhat I am about to share with you on the above subject,but kindly lend me an ear. I am just at my end as I write.From mid last month due to long school vacationof almost two months (November - December), the entirechildren population was here hence, we spend a lot in termsof food and now we have a serious shortage as we speak.From mid last month, we have been all through survivalmode and now the situation is out of hand. With small kidsit's utterly impossible to survive on one meal per day, andam afraid to say if in the next two days, not unless somethingurgent comes through all will be empty.Am sorry I couldn't have brought up this earlier forthe two main reason being,1) FAF is our major sponsor, and it's imperative to overwhelmsomeone with all your needs, otherwise it will be like you aretaking their kindness for granted.2) FAF is a major contributor towards tuition fees, so it's alsounfair to mix them with other issues, hence I always considerFAF as the very last option when it comes such needs likethis, and given the very best you have contributed this farwithin this short time.
I know, given the duration that GSCH has been in existencewe aren't supposed to be buying or begging for food at thismoment, but for now please if there is anyway that FAF cancome to the rescue of the kids, it will be very much appreciated.Please as the president I account on you over this, I pray thatyou may see the rationale of it. I have a lot on my hands as wespeak in terms of seeing this new high school group all of themto school. I believe after the probation period is over, and giventhat no more new kids are allowed to be admitted things willturn out to be better. But for now kindly, appeal for me onbehalf of the board. We are here for the very common interestsof these innocent children. And I know how it feels not to have food.Kindly please, I will be waiting to hear from you after theboard's decision. (Editor’s note: As of the publication date of this Newsletter, the Board has acted to collected new donations and send immediate funds to Kris Wetah in or to help the Home meet this new crisis.)
Some Testimonials from the Home Late last year we received the following letter from Mary, now at St. Mary's Mission Hospital High School in Kenya. She is 17 years old, in Form 2, a graduate of the Good Samaritan home. I joined Good Samaritan Home in 2011 and have been there for four yearsand the home has been providing me with education, food and clothing.The main reason I joined the home is that my parents did not have enough[money] to cater for my school needs and everyday concerns. Since I joined ithas offered me hope to achieve my dreams of a doctor. With these I will be ableto give back to the society and help my parents. I want to touch lives of childrenwith the same problem and even setting up my own children’s home.Indeed Good Samaritan has been a home of love, care, comfort andencouragement.I am really thankful for Mama Mercy and I will continue relighting mycandle day and night and work hard, for good things comes to those who arepatient.
We also received this report from Samuel who is now enrolled at St. Mary’s Mission Hospital High School. He returns to the Good Samaritan Children’s Home during vacations and holidays. Fabulous African Fabrics helps to pay his tuition and school shoes so he can concentrate and succeed in his medical studies. Samuel’s words follow, with editing in brackets by Laura Salazar. Being a street child, sleeping under carts and shop verandas, denied meshelter, food, clothing and the essentials as education. [I was] rescued from mystreet life by the Good Samaritan. That raised my hope again. [Good Samaritan]offered me a home, shelter and basics as food. Being there in street I hadbecome a drug user and the new home had to rehabilitate me.Much more than parental love from Mama Mercy, mentorship from ourguardians and volunteers, who we look up to them as role models, [gave mehope. Thanks to] all sponsors, supporters and all donors who go hungry just toplace a smile on our face [and thanks to] those that give not that they have much,but know how it feels to lack. [I have] dreams of achieving an accolade inmedicine; I know I will be there soon, for there is someone supporting my visionand dream.I am really grateful and thankful for Good Samaritan. I am in my third yearin school just because of the help. THANK YOU!
IN MEMORIAM Jacqueline Hills, a faithful member of FAF since 2000, passed away in December 2015. She worked in counseling office at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, where FAF was founded years ago. She had been retired from the University for a number of years. She will be sorely missed. * * * * * * THE CLOTH AND THE MUD #61
NEWS FROM FABULOUS AFRICAN FABRICS
A 501(C) (3) ORGANIZATION
1158 Kensington St. NWGrand Rapids, MI 49534727-946-5322
May 15-16FAF Spring Garage Sale1158 Kensington St. NW
This is also a moving sale for Kiri and Laura Salazar
ADD TO OUR GREAT STUFF
DONATE, HELP WITH SETUP AND SELLING
May 17 2:00 P.M. Annual Board Meeting also 1158 Kensington.All welcome.
GIVEN to GSCH 2015 to Date: $4600 Since 1999:$111,800
NEWS FROM AFRICA
ASSESSMENT OF FIRE DAMAGE BY KRIS WEHTA, MARCH 29, 2015:
(Italics are quotes from Kris.The rest is summary by Salazar)
Two makeshift rooms. [Photo not printed here]It’s worth noting that these rooms had been serving this noble purpose of sheltering our children since the 2001.The labor to fix the damage is a total of $1,260 U.S.At the time of writing, nothing has been done in an attempt to re-construct the two rooms.The affected children are sleeping on the floor in the yet to be completed permanent building.
BEDDING:Fourteen double decker beds.None have been replaced to this effect as per now, and the entire group of girls is sleeping on the floors. (Replacement value $1,806.)Twenty eight mattresses were replaced by the Chandaria Foundation, a Kenyan NGO, along with flour, cooking oil, rice, sugar and toilet paper.
SCHOOL ITEMS REPLACED:One Hundred fourteen pairs of uniforms for fifty seven girls in two secondary schools catered (paid) by FAF.Fifty pairs uniforms for the first group of 25 girls, who had been kept out of school without them.Transport for the girls to school.